Political

James Comey testimony: How historic hearing is taking over TV

Get your popcorn popped, because Thursday's wall-to-floor-to-wall-to-ceiling coverage of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee is shaping up to be a television and digital media blockbuster.

Every broadcast and cable news network, as well as their digital arms, will be carrying the 56-year-old's testimony live, as he's expected to give his version of what went down between himself and President Trump during the tumultuous weeks the two worked together.

"Both President Trump and Comey have contributed to the buildup surrounding Comey's testimony this week through their respective contributions to keeping this story on the front page," Wendy L. Patrick, media expert and president of AdvantageSpeaker.com, told Fox News. 

And while many are comparing the proceedings to the televised McCarthy-Army and Watergate hearings, today the media landscape is much different.

"One factor that makes all of this so significant is the speed with
which information is broadcast now, and the many more news sources that are out there these days," says PR and media expert Rhonda Rees. "Also with the added back-up of social media, reporting the step-by-step goings on in 'record time,' it
all adds up to 'must see' TV."

And the cable news networks will be leading the charge. Fox News Channel (FNC) will kick things off by presenting live coverage on the testimony promptly at 9 a.m. co-anchored by Bill Hemmer and Shannon Bream. Contributions will be made by a panel including FNC’s chief political anchor Bret Baier, “Fox News Sunday’s” Chris Wallace, and “The Five” co-host Dana Perino. 

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FNC will be commercial-free when the hearing begins at 10 a.m., and if you aren't near a TV, it will all be streamed live right here on FoxNews.com. Shepard Smith will anchor coverage for Fox broadcasting and FNC’s primetime lineup will feature live editions of “The Story with Martha MacCallum” (7 p.m.), “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (8 p.m.), “The Five” (9 p.m.), and “Hannity” (10 p.m.). From 11 p.m.-1 a.m., FNC will present special live presentations of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

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On CNN, anchors Wolf Blitzer and Andersoon Cooper will be anchoring the network’s programming, while on MSNBC, Brian Williams will be joined by NBC News’ Nicolle Wallace and several expert guests. 

But while virtually any high-level hearing gets live play and analysis on cable news these days, it's the addition of all three broadcast networks that sets this event's news coverage apart.

NBC will deliver coverage of the testimony beginning on “TODAY," while ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos will lead that network's coverage. “CBS This Morning” co-hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King, and Norah O’Donnell will anchor live coverage on the network. 

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So have that bowl of Orville Redenbacher handy. Thursday should make for some compelling television.